A new Dutch landscape with windmills up to 120 meters. Designed by NL Architects.
A new Dutch landscape with windmills up to 120 meters. Designed by NL Architects.
Named after the story of a city girl that washes her hair with pine-needle shampoo and one day walks in the woods with her daddy says “Daddy! The Woods Smell of Shampoo”, this Dutch VPRO documentary investigates how media became the filters through which we experience the world around us.
Media experiences are often more satisfying than real experiences. Do we still have real experiences or are all our feelings and thoughts shaped by media technologies? And if that’s the case, how bad is this anyhow?
Ten years ago, when The Woods Smell of Shampoo was broadcasted on Dutch television, much of its statements were considered preposterous. Over time the film has gained a certain luster – if only for being Next Nature avant la lettre.
This project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs. A four-metre long measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.
This interview from 2008 is exemplary for a time when people started experimenting on humanizing anonymous avatars in the virtual realm. Shopping, building, going on holiday, dancing, drinking and getting wasted, playing games, farm, prostitute, doing business and yes: becoming pregnant are some of the ways people expressed themselves. I am not sure if SecondLife is still being lived, but if it is, it makes one curious to know what has become of the virtual babies. Are they still babies or did they grow over time? Were they being neglected at some point? Socially parked? If so, then let this blogpost be a monument for all parents and their virtual darlings.
Indulge in the paintings by Alex Gross. There is ‘something’ next nature about them… If happen to have more information on what that ‘something’ is, feel free to enlighten us in the comment box. Peculiar image of the week.
Some beautiful images from games gone wrong. If you have more of them, post a link in the comments
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During the selection of the top ten of next nature movies we’ve doubted quite a bit between the Truman Show (1998) and American Beauty (1999). The Truman Show tells the story of a man whose life is completely fake. The place he lives in is in fact one big studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and all his friends and people around him, are actors.
While the Truman Show is an iconic film that invites us to reflect on our media-choked environment, American Beauty goes one level deeper: similar to Truman, the characters in American Beauty are born inside a completely molded environment: Suburban Utopia. And although this setting, with its agreeable houses, cars, gardens and people, is designed to provide for every human need, something is somehow missing. American Beauty portrays a life too organized, too molded, too artificial, too plastic… and the nature within people that resists.
The main protagonist is Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), a man in his mid-life crisis, whose life is turned upside down by a superficial crush on one of his teenage daughters friends. His wife Caroline (Annette Bening) has an obsession of her own; her public appearance. While their daughter Jane is rebelling against the hypocritical Ken en Barbie appearance of her parents.
Only Ricky Fits, the drug-dealing boy next door, is able to look beyond conventional notions of attractiveness and find beauty in non-promiscuous, solemn girls as well as in plastic bags floating in the wind. When many criticize the movie, they say, “Where’s the beauty in a plastic bag?” And that’s the point. Look closer.
American Beauty is a profound portrait of some of the issues many people in today’s Western world are struggling with: appearance, success, self-fulfillment, and the chances of getting to know your loved ones on a deeper level. It not only entertains while you’re watching it but also drops subtle questions in your head about the nature of human behavior, the effort we put in molding and improving our lives, the things we win, the things we loose. How our natural environment has been replaced by a designed environment. How Nature likes to hide itself.
Passed: Truman Show (1998), Fight Club (1999), Magnolia (1999).
Some years ago scientists managed to build a rudimentary invisibility cloak, which was an impressive device but it had some important limitations, not least of which was that it worked only for a single frequency of microwaves.
One of the biggest questions that physicists have puzzled over since then is whether it is possible to build cloaking device that works over the range of frequencies visible to the human eye.
What happens when next nature dreams of old nature? Such is the case with extinct animals that have ever come in contact with humans, particularly the dinosaurs, our own postmodern dragons. Creatures that we layer with a fearful wonderment, dinosaurs are a fantastic lost fauna that emerge through hints and half-glimpses, much like the accounts of dragons passed through fragmented texts or embellished traveler’s tales. As with dragons, our only knowledge of their behavior emerges from our imaginations.
Following in the footsteps of a Marco Polo-esque spice trade, next nature explorers Jon Cohrs and Ryan Van Luit travel by canoe past massive cargo ships and factories in search of the numerous artificial flavoring factories of New Jersey, the flavoring capital of the U.S. During a two-week industrial wilderness trip, they interview factory employees, document our campsites and adventures, and cook with various artificial flavors in an attempt to bridge our understanding of the natural and artificial.
More at www.thespicetradeexpedition.com. Thanks Jon Moolaem.
Last month we discussed how the vacuum played a big role in Manko’s life since he lost his right leg. Soon he developed this idea further, beyond the mere notion of extensions into more abstract notions of what a vacuum is, as we saw in the earlier discussed works ‘Zebra2′ and his later work ‘KM3′. The copyright issues made Manko feel betrayed by the old art regime that did not seem to know how to deal with virtual artworks. There would not be a lot of time to make art while dealing with the various pending court cases.
Then, one rainy day in November, Manko received an invitation at his Paris apartment from a mysterious person simply called ‘O’. The invitation was printed on an ultra-thin sheet of paper that felt like it would crumble in his hands yet proved rather strong. At the top of it was an embossed red geometrical ‘O’ and it had a watermark on it of something that looked like a molecular structure. The invitation read as follows: “Dear Mr. Manko, Your artistic work has come to our attention and we would like you to consider joining our laboratory to work on an innovative project with us. We think you have the relevant mindset we need to complete our team. If you accept this invitation, please flush it down your toilet and we’ll be in touch with you soon. Yours sincerely, ‘O’.”
Sind wir noch zu retten? That was the slogan of this year’s Ars Electronica festival in Linz (Austria). Titled ‘REPAIR’, the media art festival urged to leave our scepticism and lethargy behind and turn to artists, designers, scientists and engineers to search a way out. What do these pioneers tell us? How can we reach an alternative future? And what’s living like in NextNature? Read more »
At ISEA 2010, the International Symposium on Electronic Arts, media artists and media researchers from all over the world present their work in Dortmund (Germany). This year, many projects focus on the relationship between man and nature and man and technology. An overview of contemporary artistic practices of NextNature at ISEA 2010.
In this first review of the works of Manko, we’ll discuss the complex sorts of plagiarism in Augmented Reality art that are typical for our contemporary art scene. This introduces a relevant clue to the later demise of Manko.
By ASTON REVOLA, Paris 21-08-20, for NextNature.net
Last year, in May, Manko released an artistic Augmented Reality (AR) application that showed what the missing arms, legs and even heads of some of the most famous sculptures in art history were supposed to look like. Based on artist sketchbooks he remodeled them in 3D and with the use of the new contact lenses of the museum, visitors could now see the whole picture. It was a huge success and soon enough Manko licensed others to remix these virtual body parts he designed. One of the best remixes was actually done by Manko himself, where he transposed the arms of Milo’s Venus onto Dali’s version, making the arms move and search all the drawers in her chest, frantically and endlessly.
As technology progresses we constantly have to adapt ourselves to an ever changing media landscape. Designers try to smooth the changes with a ‘progressive nostalgic‘ strategy: linking newfangled technologies with familiar phenomena.
Flipping through the bookshelf on your iPad, provides the owner with the familiar feeling of having an easily accessible library of books. The nostalgic reference to a wooden bookshelf makes the modern notion of a digital book collection graspable. At the same time, the digital storage of books is expected to have a huge impact on the publishing industry and the actual use of books: similar to the first cars that were designed as ‘horseless carriages’ and the ‘envelope’ icon you click to open your email application, which acceptance caused an drastic decrease in the use of actual envelopes, the digital book cabinet is a first sign of extinction for the physical book cabinets it so elegantly simulates.
A technology that already became extinct is simulated in the iRetroPhone rotary dialer application for those who want to dial grandma’s style.
Urban intervention, naughty boy-style! The public media interventionists of VR/Urban have designed a cool tool to intervene into next nature: the SMSlingshot. A wooden, embedded interaction device –equipped with an ultra-high frequency radio, a hacked Arduino board, laser and batteries – to shoot your own message directly onto a building or media facade. With some tucked away beamers, it works like magic. Reclaim the screens!
Man is a flexible species. We tend to adapt quite rapidly to new environments. But how fast can these adaptations turn to new evolutionary traits? For instance: to what extent is the internet changing our cognitive capabilities?
Back in the day, the story goes, we could remember whole bible stories. We could even sing entire newspapers. Because there weren’t any, we had to remember it all. That changed with the invention of book printing. Remembering became less important and instead, as philosopher Walter Ong claimed, our brains could focus more on comparing and analyzing. So our analytical skills grew.
Avatars are commonly known as virtual characters in the digital realm representing a user. But what if avatars could house personal history, profile and ideas? Could that enable us to make decisions after we have died?
LifeNaut, has a free service called “Mind File” that lets you digitally backup the organic brain:
“A Mindfile is a web-based storage space for organizing and preserving critical information (digital reflections) about one’s unique and essential characteristics for the future, and to share with friends and relatives in the present.”
The subscribing process comes down to putting stuff in a database, including an expressionless photo, which LifeNaut automatically turns into a lifelike, blinking and talking avatar that functions as a visual interface, ready to interact with you and others – including your descendants!
Backup your brain and live forever.